Following its successful film counterpart, which has transformed Lopud Island into a cultural hub, the Ponta Lopud Jazz Festival offers an array of masterclasses and lectures led by jazz virtuosos. From August 31 to September 2, the charm and serene atmosphere of Lopud will become an inspiring stage for celebrated musicians and aspiring talents, serving as a distinctive platform to refine their skills and foster creative dialogue with some of jazz’s finest artists. In the role of the master, we will welcome Joe Lovano, a renowned saxophonist with multiple Grammy awards to his name. Another distinguished artist and lecturer at the festival is the Grammy-winning drummer Antonio Sánchez. Adding to this incredible line-up is Thana Alexa, a Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist, composer, and arranger, who is also Artistic Director at the Ponta Lopud Jazz Festival. Participants can also look forward to lectures by Japanese pianist BIGYUKI, Australian bassist Lex Sadler, Puerto Rican saxophonist David Sánchez, bassist Ricky Rodriguez, Venezuelan pianist Luis Perdomo, Croatian drummer Lada Obradović, and French pianist David Tixier.
Thirteen young professionals from Croatia and neighbouring countries will have the privilege of attending the masterclasses and lectures. Among these talented individuals is Mirsad Dalipi, a drummer from Kosovo, and a member of the acclaimed band Gipsy Groove. Their music has earned recognition across Europe, Asia, and neighbouring regions, while also promoting tolerance and equality, and breaking prejudices against the Roma national minority. Aldo Foško, a musician from Pula, studied musicology at the Music Academy in Zagreb and graduated from the Ruprecht-Karls University in Heidelberg. He also studied bass clarinet at the Giuseppe Tartini State Conservatory in Trieste, where he also discovered his passion for jazz. Presently, he collaborates with nearly all prominent jazz musicians in the region. As an instrumentalist, he has recorded 10 studio albums and released his first solo album This One Time this year. Aldo is involved in composition, arrangement, pedagogy, scientific work, and music criticism. Maja Grgić studied at the Jazz Academy in Graz and graduated in composition, performance and songwriting at the London Centre for Contemporary Music, Middlesex University. As a vocalist, she received the ‘Status’ award, typically reserved for instrumentalists. Her achievements include numerous performances, appearances at prestigious festivals, participation in Dora 2023, and features in TV and radio shows. Her debut original album Crno Bijelo, released in collaboration with jazz guitarist Joe Pandur, earned two Porin nominations. Notably, her composition Dječak Joe received a prestigious award, making Maja the youngest female composer to win a Porin. She also holds the distinction of being the first female composer in the 60-year history of the HRT Big Band, with her piece performed at the Croatian Authors’ Evening in Lisinski and later released on a special record. After earning her degree at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, flautist Milena Jančurić continued her studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Passionate about improvisation and composing her own pieces, she has been actively involved as a solo performer and ensemble member in numerous projects. Milena has collaborated with notable figures such as Matt Marvuglio, Ljubiša Jovanović, and Marco Pignataro, while also participating in workshops and concerts at the Internal Compass Institute in Israel. In 2021, she released her debut album Shapes and Stories, marking a significant milestone in her musical journey. Lana Janjanin, a native of Zagreb, obtained her master’s degree from the prestigious University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, majoring in classical composition and media scoring. While rooted in classical music, Lana discovered a penchant for jazz and soul. Driven by her passion, she founded her own ensembles and released two albums: A Minute of Love and Miracles. Alongside her colleague Dina Rizvić, Lana received recognition as the first woman in Croatia’s history to compose, arrange, and perform their work for a big band. Lana is also the artistic director of the JazzHR festival. Jošt Lampret, one of Slovenia’s most sought-after bassists, graduated in classical double bass from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana. He has won numerous classical music competitions and currently performs with various bands of different styles, collaborating with successful Slovenian and international musicians such as Vlatko Stefanovski, Daniel Rowland, and the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra. Jošt has also initiated his own projects, showcasing his skills as a composer and arranger. Stevan Milijanović from Čačak, is an active member of various Belgrade bands. He pursued his education at the Newpark Music Centre in Ireland, where he joined directly as a fourth-year student, and later completed his studies at the Jazz Department of the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, where he also earned his master’s degree. He is a member of the Association of Musicians of Jazz, Pop, and Rock Music of Serbia and serves as the leader of the ethno-jazz orchestra EJO, with whom he released the album Ptica. Stevan received awards as a promising young talent and for the most broadcasted jazz composition, Deset dana. Borna Pehar, a pianist and composer from Zadar, initially enrolled in the Faculty of Music in Mostar but shifted his focus to jazz piano. After completing his undergraduate studies at the Kärntner Landeskonservatorium in Klagenfurt, he continued his master’s studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. Actively participating in jazz workshops, Borna received the second prize from the expert jury at the 8th Boris Papandopulo National Competition for Young Musicians. Talented drummer, composer, and band leader, Žiga Smrdel from Slovenia, has collaborated with many renowned artists and ensembles. He studied under the guidance of jazz master Gregory Hutchinson and has received various international accolades. Žiga is part of the jazz trio Mind Tree, which won the award for the best composition at the 7th Virtual Jazz Club competition. The trio’s debut album Catharsis received praise from both audiences and critics. Ajda Stina Turek from Slovenia holds a diploma in jazz from Boston’s Berklee College of Music. She has released two EP albums, Sonder and Trauma, and during her studies, she successfully toured across Slovenia. While living in New York, she collaborated with renowned musicians, performing at venues like Birdland and other Broadway locations. Ajda was honoured as the most gifted songwriter and performer at the Popevka festival. Currently based in Europe, she recorded a jazz album in collaboration with vibraphonist Vid Jamnik and earned a master’s degree in contemporary performance and production at Berklee Valencia. Bassist and band leader Lidija Strika is a member of the quartet that introduced the single Mr. Curfew and is planning to release their debut album. Additionally, the quartet has arranged music for artists like Bobby Watson, Benny Golson, and Paul Simon. Lidija pursued studies in Austria and at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, learning from numerous renowned musicians, including John Patitucci, Joe Sanders, and Gregory Hutchinson. Angelica Zacchigna completed her jazz vocal studies at the State Conservatory Giuseppe Tartini in Trieste. She is a winner of multiple competitions and festivals, a participant in numerous radio and TV shows, and teaches at the Onstage Studio for Acting and Musical Theatre. As the lead vocalist, she recorded the album Electro Way with the 1000 Streets, and this year, she released her debut single I Want Your Love.
Participants in the lectures and masterclasses at the inaugural Ponta Lopud Jazz Festival are:
- Mirsad Dalipi, drums (Kosovo)
- Aldo Foško, piano and saxophone (Croatia)
- Maja Grgić, vocals (Croatia)
- Milena Jančurić, flute (Serbia)
- Lana Janjanin, piano and vocals (Croatia)
- Jošt Lampret, bass (Slovenia)
- Stevan Milijanović, piano (Serbia)
- Borna Pehar, piano (Croatia)
- Žiga Smrdel, drums (Slovenia)
- Ajda Stina Turek, vocals (Slovenia)
- Lidija Strika, bass (Croatia)
- Angelica Zacchigna, vocals (Italy and Croatia)
The only festival of its kind in southern Dalmatia will take place at two special locations on the island of Lopud: the Rector’s Palace, which will be used for the first time since its renovation, and the beautiful garden of the Grand Hotel. Each evening, concerts followed by jam sessions will be held in the garden, and all performances are free of charge.